MANILA, Philippines – Pledges approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) in the 1st half of 2019 went up by 27.4% year-on-year to P304.4 billion, but this remains far from the P1-trillion target it wants to reach for 2019.
Despite this, Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said they are still confident they can reach their target as investments continue to increase year-on-year. (READ: BOI-approved investments jump by 40% in January-May 2019)
"There are big-ticket projects in the pipeline, but we are exercising – as we do in all cases – prudence in diligently assessing their eligibility for incentives," he added.
Foreign investments soared by 375.3% year-on-year to P68.9 billion from January to June 2019. Domestic investments posted only a 5% year-on-year increase, but still outpaced foreign pledges with P235.6 billion.
Trade Secretary and BOI Chairman Ramon Lopez credited the continued increase to the Philippine economy "accelerating in the 2nd quarter to around 6% due to robust domestic consumption."
Amid earlier fears of the Philippines being affected by the United States-China trade war, Lopez said they are ready to "catch and absorb" the investments that could have gone to China.
But the trade chief said they "remain hopeful they (the US and China) will strike a deal because the global economy is at stake."
"Both countries are among our largest trading partners, but for any eventuality, we have to diversify our markets by going beyond the traditional ones while further strengthening our domestic base," he added.
Among the Philippines' foreign investors, Singapore took the top spot in the 1st half of 2019 after pledges from the city-state amounted to P35.4 billion. It was followed by the Netherlands with P9.2 billion worth of pledges.
Thailand took 3rd place with P8.5 billion worth of approved investments, while Japan and the US were 4th and 5th with P5.8 billion and P2.4 billion, respectively.
Bulk of the investments went to power projects, increasing by 77.9% to P192.4 billion from P108.2 billion in the 1st half of 2018. The manufacturing sector received P45.3 billion worth of investments, a 128.4% jump from the same period last year.
The information and communication sector, however, saw the highest increase in investments, from P340 million to P33.2 billion. Tourism also continued to grow with P8.6 billion in pledges from just P1.2 billion.
Calabarzon continues to be the top investment location after P201.2 billion worth of pledges were coursed to the region. Central Luzon followed far behind with P27.7 billion, while the National Capital Region came in 3rd place at P11.3 billion.
Among the notable investments approved by the BOI are:
Cebu Air Incorporated's acquisition of Airbus planes worth P4.7 billion
Rio Norte Hydropower Corporation's 19.7-megawatt (MW) hydropower project in Isabela worth P4 billion
DMCI Masbate Power Corporation's 15-MW thermal power plant in Masbate worth P2.3 billion
Aseniero International Trading's P47-million proposal to export coconut products from Zamboanga del Norte
The BOI also awarded certificates of registration to the following projects:
Zenith Foods Corporation's P3.6-billion modernized plant in Calamba City, Laguna
Cagayan Biomass Energy Corporation's P1.7-billion renewable energy biomass power project
Northern Calamian Farming Incorporated's P291.6-million organic rice production facility in Coron, Palawan
Renesons Energy Polillo Incorporated's P151.6-million biomass project
Medcheck E-commerce Incorporated's P61.8-million knowledge-based services project
Safi Poultry Corporation's P28-million broiler chicken production plant in South Cotabato